By Jectone Oyoo——
Raila Odinga with all his fanatic following, political astuteness and his monumental contributions to the second liberation in Kenya and the fight for increased democratic space we enjoy today is still a mere mortal like all of us. Raila Odinga, in all honesty, is in his political sunset together with his trusted lieutenants like Prof. Anyang Nyongo and Sen. James Orengo, also in his political twilight is Dalmas Otieno who has been an Odinga adversary for a major part of his political life. It would, therefore, be foolhardy for the Luo nation to bury their head in the sand and assume it is premature to talk of Luo leadership succession.
In the backdrop of the above facts—many names come to mind and analysis as to their suitability ensues—Dr. Miguna Miguna, Hon. Babu Owino, Dr. Evans Kidero, Jakoyo Midiwo, Hon. John Mbadi and Eliud Owalo are the names bandied around frequently. While Babu Owino is the pedigree of a politician many in the Luo nation would like to lead them in terms of his abrasive nature and boldness in character—he still has a lot going against him, he is young and restless, he still associates with questionable characters, many still view him as politically immature and needs more time to learn the ropes.
Dr. Evans Odhiambo Kidero almost easily became the heir apparent to Odinga, he is financially endowed and his demeanor makes him a lovable person who comes across as moderate and a caring person. He, however, messed up all these goodwills from the people due to his perceived closeness with president Uhuru Kenyatta—word has it that the President was his frequent drinking buddy and that led to him openly belittling Odinga, something that did not go down well with Odinga’s supporters. Many who were privy to the power intrigues during the year 2013-2017 say that Kidero felt he was the senior-most elected politician from Nyanza and it is Odinga who owed him respect. Speaking to opinion leaders in the villagers of Luo Nyanza will lead you to the conclusion that he is politically done and dusted.
Jakoyo Midiwo was another rising star in Luo Nyanza politics; his closeness with Raila gave him prominence and relevance. He, however, developed some level of arrogance due to his ascendancy to the office of minority whip— he started feeling more important and its also alleged that he was a frequent visitor to Statehouse and was the presidents drinking buddy as well. His comeback is unlikely. John Mbadi as the ODM chairman is in an enviable position, but he is handicapped in terms of resources and also has a lot of competition from his backyard to even think of jostling for power away from his constituency. The other player who was very vibrant, but fizzled out of the limelight is Eliud Owalo—He rose to prominence as the campaign manager to Raila Odinga in 2013, he carried the burden of a failed campaign and that dimmed his star, He is a firebrand per excellence and an outspoken leader. He has a bright future and can rebrand and make a comeback.
Dr. Miguna a lawyer by profession, a Canadian barrister and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya is in pole position to receive the Luo leadership button from Odinga—he is firm, intense, intelligent and highly educated. He has lived and worked in a first world country where systems work and therefore enjoys that exposure, that would be very useful to improve the living conditions of many—he has clarity of mind and he is the man with the master plan. Dr. Miguna Miguna has no corruption scandal in a country where corruption is the new normal. He has institutional memory, as the senior advisor to the PM in the coalition government his successes were many and his succinct advise made Raila the Prime Minister.
Dr. Miguna has also been on the forefront condemning the butchering and maiming of Luos by the police and has thus endeared himself to the people as a liberator in action. At 54 years old, he is in his prime and has time to go the full length in terms of the leadership of Kenya.
To many who would argue that he had a bitter fallout with the PM, they forget so fast— Orengo and Nyongo were once Raila’s political adversaries. If he plays his cards well, which he seems to be doing, he will seize this historic opportunity and become a great leader. He has the potential of going all the way. Viva!